What is a press release?
A press release is a piece of company literature that is issued to the media and consumers of your service or product, it is used to announce an important piece of information about the company, an event or a product.
A press release can be written by anyone, but tend to be written by publicists or the marketing function within a company. This would then be distributed to various media channels such as newspapers, TV, radio and not forgetting influential websites.
A press release should be carefully constructed so that it gets the message your company wants to purvey across in the best possible way. The contents should be genuinely newsworthy and if you know your target audience or writing style of your particular media contacts then it is worth making it as easy for them to promote it without them having to make too many modifications. It is also worth noting that it should be written from an unbiased point of view and from a journalistic stance rather than a marketing one, with the aim of informing people not hard selling to them.
A well-written release can dramatically increase your sales, expose your company to the masses, and greatly enhance the image of your business or products. But can also help you search marketing efforts.
What are press releases used for?
Press releases are used to let others know about an exciting change, event, or new product that your company has. The idea is to gain additional exposure for the release through media channels.
Press releases don’t have to be just to obtain additional sales, they can be to increase brand awareness.
Tips on writing a press release
- Make sure the information is newsworthy.
- Tell the audience that the information is intended for them and why they should continue to read it.
- Start with a brief description of the news, and then distinguish who announced it, and not the other way around.
- Ask yourself, “How are people going to relate to this and will they be able to connect?”
- Make sure the first 10 words of your release are effective, as they are the most important.
- Avoid excessive use of adjectives and fancy language.
- Provide as much Contact information as possible: Individual to Contact, address, phone, fax, email, Web site address.
- Make sure you wait until you have something with enough substance to issue a release.
- Make it as easy as possible for media representatives to do their jobs. Maybe look at the style of the media channel you are approaching a particular newspaper or website might have a look and feel that you can emulate in your release.
- Don’t worry about having the snappiest of snappy headlines. The newspapers and magazines have dedicated people whose job it is to summarise the story in a catchy title. You need to just make sure your title is vaguely interesting, makes sense and is noticeable. One tip is to use capitalisation in part of the title.
- This paragraph is a very quick overall summary of the release and usually this is the only section the journo reads to decide if they are going to read on or not. You have to make sure this bit is rock solid, short, to the point and interesting. Note the use of italic font to show it as an overview.
- If there is a commercial aspect to the story, i.e. you are announcing a new product launch or alike then this is the place where you put in how much it costs and where it is available from along with any launch offers etc.
- Pictures can decide if a story gets used or not, especially if you have a good visual angle. You can also put in here that spokespeople are available to comment. Always best to put your most senior person up for interview where possible.
How can a press release be optimised for SEO?
The internet has increased the take up rate and speed at which you can syndicate a press release. Press releases are now the domain of any size company, even those with no dedicated PR department. All that is needed is some creativity and time to spend approaching potential media channels, even without a budget the company website is one such channel to announce such releases.
Press releases can be mailed out as part of an email campaign drive. The beauty is that in the past a press release would have a very short shelf life before it is forgotten, but these days it has the potential to be available for all to see.
The great thing about using SEO in a press release is that unlike press releases of old where it was sent in the form a of a letter, press releases now can have additional content in them such as videos and links to relevant pages on your site creating quality inbound links to your site. They can also have a ‘share’ button allowing your customers/readers to social bookmark and share your press release with others increasing its reach.
Tips to make sure your press release is optimised and stands out;
- Firstly do some keyword research around the press release topic to see if there is any search traffic you can capitalise on already there. Then add them in the content and title sparingly.
- Research some potential outlets for your Press release, such as newspapers, blogs, websites etc.
- Include a link to your site in the press release.
- Gain momentum for your press release by posting it on PRWeb & PR Newswire and increase your sites ranking at the same time.
- Make sure you cover all the criteria to help your press release rank in Google news and other news searches.
Once you have written your press release
Once you have written your whitepaper and added it to your website, make sure you use social bookmarking sites to begin the process of getting the press release out to more people.
Don’t forget to start by adding it to the company website and blog before approaching 3rd party sites.